You Are Being Tested - Pitching The Pitchfork

Satan: An Autobiography - Yehuda Berg 2010

You Are Being Tested
Pitching The Pitchfork

I can feel your anxiety building now, like that nightmare where you walk into a classroom completely unprepared for the exam. Relax. Remember, I am divulging all my secrets here so you can better prepare this time around. Test preparation is the name of the Game.

I’d like to take a minute to familiarize you with the classroom and the rules that govern this space. First off, know that you’ll never get a test that you can’t handle. The universe has equipped you with all of the tools you’ll need to ace every exam that comes your way.

There are two important things to keep in mind:

1. Within every test, always be on the lookout for me. Think of each test as a page from Where’s Waldo? I’ll always be there somewhere. Need a clue? Where selfishness is rearing its pretty head, you are sure to find me.

2. Think of the other person.

With any test you encounter, let me tell you that the odds are in your favor. But just because God is on your side doesn’t mean you should ever ask to be tested. Ask for a test and the odds change big-time. Talk about Ask and You Shall Receive! I’ll enter your consciousness with a force you are not prepared to handle. Only God knows when you are ready, so let God decide when to send me in to do my job.

And God will. Because God knows that you cannot increase the size of your Vessel without tests. You can’t go back to Kansas without confronting the wicked witch that is your selfish nature.


I will tell you this much: There are two types of tests I might throw your way. There’s the One Shot Deal: Blow it and you’re done. And the other is my personal favorite: The Slow Burn.

Just the mere sound of these brings me great excitement. With the One Shot Deal, my goal is to hit you with one singular life experience that packs such a powerful punch it leaves you shattered under the sheer “unfairness” of it all.

The Slow Burn speaks for itself. With this test, I wear you down slowly. Over time, I corrupt your consciousness. You don’t even know that it’s happening! It’s like the frog in the boiling water experiment. Drop a frog into a pot of nice, cool water and then gradually bring that water to a boil. Then, sit back as the frog cooks up nice and hearty. But if you drop that same frog into a pot of boiling water, he’ll jump ship in a heartbeat. In that same way, I prefer the oh-so-slow-and-steady line of attack. It takes a great deal of patience on my part, but the payoff is that you never see it coming.

By the way, I will never let you know the weight of the test in the big picture. You will never know if you are taking a final exam or a mere quiz. So, beware. Sometimes, a small test is really a big test in disguise. I freely admit it—I’m a sucker for disguises.


You might know this one. You are already in a relationship, and then an attractive single person of the opposite sex asks you for a cup of coffee. You’re excited about it. Hello, is there such a thing as a simple cup of coffee? Check yourself out. What are you looking for? What’s up with your relationship that you are out with someone else for a “cup of coffee”?

Can you see me hiding in this scenario? What lack am I activating in you? What am I feeding you besides coffee? What about being asked out makes you feel good? It’s not the caffeine. Is it receiving attention from another person? Is it me?

Note this: If you create an opening for me, I will step in and you probably won’t like where I take you. Sometimes, the most seemingly harmless decisions are wrought with life-changing consequences. So, prepare accordingly.


On the flip side, sometimes you think you’re being given the ultimate test, but the truth is that it’s hardly a test at all—call it a pop quiz, at best. Say you’re out of town on a business trip and an attractive business associate asks you to join him in his room later. You decline and walk away, proud of yourself for resisting such a tempting offer. But how great was the temptation really? You have a wonderful spouse at home, great kids, and a comfortable life. You might have been flattered by the offer, but turning it down didn’t cost you much. That doesn’t mean that you passed the test; it just means that it wasn’t much of a test in the first place. Or maybe it was another kind of test. Where am I hiding? In the pride? In the righteousness?

On the other hand, if in that same scenario, it takes every ounce of willpower to force the word no from your lips as you fantasize about what you’ll be missing, then congratulations—now, you are starting to play every bit as hard as I do. See, it’s not about the sex that you are choosing to have or not have; it’s about the degree to which you recognize and overcome me, your selfish nature.

Performing well on one of my many tests is rarely as simple as choosing one action over another, and it’s never about right and wrong. It’s about what your choice means to you. If I could give you a foolproof rule to go by, that would be too easy, wouldn’t it? That’s not how I play the Game.

The key to giving me a real challenge is to be aware that every moment offers an opportunity. Everything starts with awareness. Sure, it sounds simple. But becoming aware is never easy with the likes of me around, and that’s the way it’s meant to be. I hide inside every minute of your life. So, look out and wake up. Or pay the piper.


No one is ever going to pass every test all the time. It’s the practice that makes for perfection, remember? To win, you have to fail a few times. It’s like the major league batter who makes it into the Hall of Fame for hitting 700 home runs in his career. Imagine how many times the guy swung and missed, fouled out, or was thrown out? Yet, he’s one of the best in the history of the game!

Sure, it’s easy for baseball players because they know what they need to do. Hit it out of the park, right? But I make it much harder for you to keep your eyes on the prize and your head in the Game. But if you can overcome me located inside of you and learn to appreciate that paradise and the Garden are your destiny, you’re home free.

You will suffer mistakes and misfires. Your job is to refuse to get bogged down by them. That is to say, failure is part of the journey. Failure is part of the grand design; it’s an integrated component on the motherboard of life. You can’t simply remove it or the function it serves.

In fact, the only real failure comes when you fail to grow from the challenges you come up against. Real success, on the other hand, is falling down, dusting yourself off, and getting right back into the fray. If you buy into my lie that you have failed, you have committed the ultimate sin.

And what’s the consequence of committing the ultimate sin? Immediate death by lightning bolt? An eternity in Dante’s inferno? I admit that drama and theatrics are normally my style, so it might surprise you that the price for buying into this myth comes without much theatrical fanfare. It’s pretty simple, really.

When you believe you are a failure, you sacrifice joy. You forfeit fulfillment. And you say good-bye to any chance at peace of mind. That is the consequence of the ultimate sin. It doesn’t look so bad on paper, but, in reality, it’s hell.

But there is some good news here. There is an alternative. And it’s called letting go.

Let go of the ego, and I’ll let go of you.

I’ll let you keep the happiness and fulfillment that is your birthright if you will let go of the notion that you are not worthy of having this joy. When you let go of me, I let go of you. It’s a powerful Game we are playing. And you are playing against the master. Are you having fun yet?